Gender and family in a just society: adherence to and critique of impartiality in the contemporary debate on justice

This article analyzes debates on justice and their implications for feminist critique. Our focus is on discussions of the need for an impartial point of view for producing criteria of justice, as they emerge from the works of John Rawls and Susan Okin. Okin's critique, as well as her adherence to Rawl's perspective, defends conciliating impartiality and feminist critique, in search of fairer gender relations. In Rawls, justice depends on the suspension of interests and affects linked to individuals' different positions within the social structure and their mutual possibilities to lay self-interest aside, together with (lack of) knowledge of each one's own position. For Okin, recourse to impartiality does not exclude empathy, the consideration of difference and care for others. Expounding these positions, the article offers a critical discussion of the value of impartiality and concludes that adherence to liberal premises restricts the potential of a feminist critique of justice.

Justice; gender; family; liberalism; feminist theory

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